The Sweet Life

It's time to celebrate! I have officially lost 10kg and am almost at the point of being the lightest I have been since the age of 10! (Yes you read the right... 10. That is 23 years.)

I have always been a large person. I remember being shockingly embarrassed at 4 years old when I had to have my school uniform specially made for me as I was too large to fit anything in the shop.

Throughout my primary and high school years I was constantly teased and ridiculed for my weight. Names like 'Mr Blobby's Wife' and 'Burly Shirley' were called out as I walked past. Even at youth group my 'friends' would call me 'Titanic'. I would often feel unacceptable and unwanted. As I was often larger than my taunters and had a temper (we will blame that on the slightly ginger tinge to my hair) I would get angry and sometimes physically harm them. I don't know why I never got in trouble for this. I suppose they too knew they were guilty.

Fast forward into my late teens and I am diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome. My insulin was through the roof and I discovered that losing weight would be difficult.

Fast forward another few years, into my early twenties. I am studying to be a teacher, biking to college most days and heading to the gym... sometimes. During the next 3 years I have seasons at the gym where I'm there 4 days a week for at least an hour workout and sometimes almost throwing up at the end due to overworking my body. Although I lost some weight I was still often around the 80kg mark.

After buying a house I decided I didn't have enough money for the gym and so left all forms of exercise to what felt good at the moment (which was usually nothing.)

As time went on I learnt to accept myself for who I was and be okay with my body shape. I was determined not to let people's words in the past define me.

Whilst I was in Uganda, in 2016, I lost a lot of weight and arrived back in NZ at 79kg. I was very happy about this but knew that it wouldn't last as the weight loss was more due to having diarrhoea for 4 months than from eating well.

In January this year I attended my friend's wedding and although I looked beautiful on the day, in my favourite blue dress, a photo was taken of me that made me decide I needed to make some changes. It was this, and the thought of wanting to be healthy for my adopted daughter, that made me talk to my doctor about some options.

I want to plug here how incredible my doctor is. She has always shown care and empathy for me and has never pushed the losing weight barrow but has encouraged me when I have taken steps to do so.

My doctor told me about another patient at the clinic who had written a book called 'A Life Less Sugar.' She suggested that I might like to read it and see if that works. I told my mum about it and to my surprise she already had the book! I took it home and the first thing that drew me in was a photo of the author, before she lost weight, looking similar to what I looked like. This wasn't a health freak trying to sell me something that wasn't right for my body. This was a real woman, with real curves, sharing her story of how she lost 20kg by limiting her sugar. I decided that I would try this thing out for a month and see what happened. After 2 weeks I had already lost 1.5kg. This was a massive achievement for me and from then on I was hooked.

 The book has been re-printed since I have started this journey and I seriously suggest that you get a copy and find a group of supportive friends if you have struggled with weight loss as I have.

Bennetto Chocolate
I have previously found weight loss very hard but this time it hasn't been like that. I would usually crave all of the things that I 'couldn't have' whereas now I still include many things I enjoy. I eat chocolate almost every day. Bennetto is a NZ company who make Fair Trade, CO2 neutral, organic chocolate that is relatively low in sugar. It is more expensive than 'normal' chocolate but better for you, better for others and better for the environment! I have also used Chelsea Winter's book 'Eat' to help me cook food that is low in sugar. Not all of her recipes are low in sugar but I can choose something that I know will be and I know that it will be delicious too.

People often get uncomfortable with the amount of fat I have in my diet (it isn't excessive but more than I used to). I use cream, butter and cheese in a lot of my cooking. I understand that we have been told that fat is bad for us... but my body is telling me something different. The proof is in the fact that I now stand on the scales at 76kg.

I have also included a walk into my routine. I am lucky to work near the beautiful Halswell Quarry and I try to walk there 4 times a week. This takes about 20 minutes to half an hour and is good at getting the heart rate up. On my energetic days I walk over it twice.

The View from Halswell Quarry

So now I am 10kg less than what I was. I feel good. I'm happy with how I look, but most of all I am relieved to find the ingredient that was making me 'sick.' It feels very surreal to be in this situation, something I have wanted for years, but never thought possible. I don't want to get super skinny but to sit around 70kg would be a huge success.

My Mum has been a great walking buddy and motivator. I know I wouldn't have got nearly as far as I have without her (and other friends') support. Thank you. xx

Me in April, 3 months into my journey


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